Rugby League Weekender: Saints turn on the style, Bateman scores on NRL return and Watkins ready to leave Leeds

Our new Sunday night feature which looks back at all the action over the weekend and tells you all you need to know in a bitesize fashion.

Saints turn on the style to set up meeting with Halifax

They may not have reached a Challenge Cup final since 2008, but this could be the year that Saints return to the capital to fight for silverware?

Having edged past Huddersfield in the last round, Justin Holbrook’s side made relatively light work of Wakefield, running in eight tries to book their place in the last four of the competition.

It is unclear how Saints can be stopped at the moment. They claimed victory at a canter, even with the likes of Theo Fages, Aaron Smith and Adam Swift absent from the matchday 17.

Next up for them is a clash with Halifax, who ended their 31-year wait for a Challenge Cup semi-final appearance with a physical win over Bradford. Given how Saints are playing at present, it looks like it could be the end of the road for the second-tier side, although Fax will have the freedom to give it a good shot.

Bateman scores on NRL return

Few expected John Bateman to be anywhere near close to making his return to the Canberra line-up, given he fractured his eye socket at the beginning of May.

Nevertheless, the former Wigan man proved he is made of stern stuff by returning to action a month ahead of schedule and scoring in the first half of their 12-10 victory over Canterbury, helping the Raiders climb to fifth on the NRL ladder.

Head Coach Ricky Stuart recently praised Bateman’s energy and enthusiasm, stating that he was a real team man. He has been flying the flag superbly at Canberra alongside the likes of Elliot Whitehead, Josh Hodgson and Ryan Sutton – long may that continue.

Watkins reportedly eyeing up Leeds exit?

One of the more intriguing reports to come out of Australia this weekend is the news that Leeds captain Kallum Watkins is seeking an exit from Emerald Headingley over a pay dispute, according to rugby league’s trusty rodent, The Mole.

The Rhinos haven’t had the best of times in 2019, but the departure of one of their biggest names isn’t exactly what they need right now.

Although nothing is definite at present, the reports from Wide World of Sports suggest that Watkins could be set to follow in the footsteps of former team-mate Ryan Hall and try his hand in the NRL. With Richard Agar’s side firmly in a relegation scrap, they can ill-afford to take their eye off the ball and concentrate on anything other than Super League survival.

Weekend results:

Challenge Cup –

Hull FC 51-8 Catalans Dragons
Hull KR 22-28 Warrington Wolves
St Helens 48-10 Wakefield Trinity – match report
Bradford Bulls 16-20 Halifax RLFC – match report

Betfred Championship –

Widnes Vikings 36-6 Sheffield Eagles

1895 Cup –

Batley Bulldogs 38-18 Rochdale Hornets
Dewsbury Rams 44-26 Swinton Lions
Leigh Centurions 62-12 Workington Town
Oldham RLFC12-24 Doncaster RLFC
York City Knights 30-16 Newcastle Thunder

NRL – 

Penrith Panthers 15-12 Manly Sea Eagles
Parramatta Eels 26-14 South Sydney Rabbitohs
Canterbury Bulldogs 10-12 Canberra Raiders
Gold Coast Titans 4-6 North Queensland Cowboys

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